Approaches to studying across the adult life span: Evidence from distance education

Richardson, John T. E. (2013). Approaches to studying across the adult life span: Evidence from distance education. Learning and Individual Differences, 26 pp. 74–80.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.04.012

Abstract

Older students in higher education exhibit more desirable forms of study behaviour than do younger students. This study investigated whether this trend continued across the adult life span, whether it was due to confounded variations in gender, subject and level of study, and whether it was of any theoretical or practical importance. A questionnaire on approaches to studying was administered to a sample of 7,000 distance learners, stratified by age. Usable responses were received from 1,829 men and 2,032 women aged between 21 and 92. Scores on deep approach and two aspects of a strategic approach increased with age, but scores on surface approach declined with age. When the effects of gender, subject and level of study were statistically controlled, there was no significant variation in their scores on surface approach, but age differences in deep approach and strategic approach remained significant. Even so, statistically these represented only small effects.

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